Public Square Magazine Primary White, Gold & Black Logo | PublicSquareMag | What is Public Square | Politics, Faith & Family | Home | Public Square Magazine

Social and Cultural Implications of Russell M. Nelson’s Remarks

Sunday night President Russell M. Nelson spoke to members of the Church 18-30 years old. In his remarks, he encouraged young adults to not allow any other labels to come before three primary identities:

  1. Child of God
  2. Child of the Covenant
  3. Disciple of Christ

He clarified that other identities can be important, but that there are significant eternal risks for allowing anything else to obscure our view of these core sacred identities.

Certain voices online warned before the remarks that they would be “hurtful,” “terrible” or require cleaning up. Presumably, this is out of the growing perception that the plain teaching of the restored gospel is now harmful to those who identify among one of the “marginalized groups.”

At Public Square, we are interested in how our convictions intersect with core issues being discussed publicly. So his remarks remind us that some of the top political columnists in the U.S. believe, “All politics is identity politics.”

If our public discourse hinges so much on identity, is it any surprise that this is the topic the Lord would most want us to get right?

His remarks have wide-ranging applications. One he addressed directly is political labels. We, of course, have published frequently, and as recently as last week, about the need for unity among Saints. Deprioritizing our political identities can help with this.

President Nelson also remarked that if we prioritize other identities, we can inappropriately judge those who have chosen differently than us. He touched on many topics relevant to our discourse in the public square. He warned against prejudice and abuse on the basis of nationality, race, education, sexual orientation, gender, and culture.

As we focus on our primary identities, not only can we improve ourselves, but that we can improve our relationships with others by focusing on their nature as a child of God first and foremost as well. That can also help unify us with Latter-day Saints by further recognizing our shared identity as children of the covenant and disciples of Christ.

We hope that President Nelson’s remarks will have the effect of increasing discipleship, reducing prejudice, and increasing unity.

About the author

C.D. Cunningham

C.D. Cunningham is the managing editor of Public Square magazine. After graduating from BYU-Idaho, he studied religion at Harvard University Extension. He serves on the board of the Latter-day Saint Publishing and Media Association.
On Key

You Might Also Like

The Conference Themes That Press on Our Mind

This last weekend, we participated in our semiannual General Conference, listening to the leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Here are some themes that stood out to our staff.

Weaponizing Tolerance

Although tolerance is believed to be a way to avoid contention, if applied incorrectly, it can be used more as a weapon than a notion of compassion.

A Gospel Foundation for Common Ground on Social Justice

Social justice has become a point of aching division in America, and even among Latter-day Saints—with different sides claiming Jesus’s message as justifying their own view. Could that same gospel, however, offer some ways to find vital common ground instead?

Subscribe To Our Weekly Newsletter

Stay up to date on the intersection of faith in the public square.

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This